CE3BED-BEng research method-Dissertation

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Michael Peters

Email: m.d.peters@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is designed to further develop the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the programme and enhance their research skills to solve and engineering problem or answer research questions. The dissertation provides students with an opportunity to conduct an intensive investigation into one research topic and to present their findings in a formal manner in accordance with academic conventions and the requirements of the subject. In addition, this module enables students to develop advanced skills in written communication through the production of a written dissertation.


This module aims to develop a range of key skills required to conduct a research project and answer a research question or solve an engineering problem.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:

  • Define achievable and relevant aims, objectives and research questions,

  • Conduct a critical literature review and refine the research questions and adequately record and acknowledge sources,

  • Collect (secondary or primary) data relevant to the research question, whether through library research, observation and experiments, laboratory work, interviews or survey s,

  • Outline the ethical issues associated with research and explain how these issues are addressed,

  • Select an appropriate data analysis technique, either quantitative or qualitative or a mixed method with justifications,

  • Present the outcomes of research in tables, figures, drawings and graphs and explain them within the text,

  • Develop conclusions and recommendations for future work,

  • Present the study well, using langua ge that is well-considered, grammatically correct, fluent or succinct; with the work structured, with headings, sub-headings and paragraphs and a clear summary,

  • Identify the health and safety issues associated with research and explain how these issues are addressed throughout the research process. 

Additional outcomes:

  • To conduct an in-depth study of on a research topic under the supervision of a supervisor,

  • To build personal self-confidence for students by applying the theory and concepts learnt in the taught modules in a research project,

  • To plan a research project and manage time.

Outline content:

  • Planning your dissertation

  • Clarification of research question, aims and objectives

  • Conducting a critical literature review

  • Developing a research methodology

  • Conducting data collection and carrying out data analysis

  • Presenting the results of data analysis and discussing the findings

  • Developing a conclusion

  • Addressing the limitation of the research

  • Highlig hting the future work

Global context:

The skills and knowledge that students will acquire from this module have global applications.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching in this module will be by means of lectures and supervisions. These sessions will be complemented by guided independent study.

Independent study hours needed depend on the learning style of each individual. The following guide for independent study hours is just an example.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 5 3
Project Supervision 4 4
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 50 42
    Wider reading (directed) 10 10
    Peer assisted learning 3 3
    Advance preparation for classes 2 2
    Carry-out research project 110 90
    Dissertation writing 20 30
    Reflection 6 6
Total hours by term 210 190 0
Total hours for module 400

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Set exercise 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One dissertation of 10,000 - 15,000 words, to be submitted online.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will receive formative feedbacks on their research outputs from their supervisors throughout the supervisory process.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 40%

Reassessment arrangements:

Students who have failed in their first attempt will be provided with an opportunity to Re-submit their dissertation.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 11 August 2020


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